Is your washing machine slow to fill up with water?
If it’s not a brand-new machine, then it’s probably clogged. And if all your faucets run slowly, the problem could be in the water supply pipes.
However, if just the clothes washer is slow, the problem is probably nothing more complicated than clogged inlet screens. Here’s how to fix that issue and get your washing machine filling up with water quickly again.
What is a Washing Machine Inlet Screen?
A washing machine inlet screen is a metallic mesh filter. The screen is located inside each of the water inlet ports that attach to your cold and hot water supply hoses. Its purpose is to catch debris before it enters the machine while allowing water to pass through.
Both water and the debris enter the water supply through the hose that’s attached to the washing machine. Debris can get into your water supply for many reasons.
One common reason is mineral buildup from hard water. The buildup breaks free and enters the machine, causing it to block the flow of water. This leads to a once-powerful flow of water becoming a trickle. It’s the screen’s job to catch the debris before it enters the machine and causes damage to it.
Signs of a Clogged Inlet Screen
There are generally two signs that your inlet screen might be clogged.
- Water entering your washing machine slows down or is limited to a trickle.
- Your hose (or hoses) supply water to the machine begin to leak. This is caused by a clogged screen that doesn’t let enough water through to prevent pressure from building up in the hoses and clamps.
How to Fix a Washing Machine That’s Slow to Fill Up
Here’s how to fix a washing machine that’s slow to fill up due to a clogged inlet screen. Be prepared with a pair of slip-joint pliers, needle-nose pliers, a toothbrush, and white vinegar. You might need some or all of these.
- Unplug the clothes washer and pull it away from the wall.
- Turn off both water supply valves (hot and cold water), which will be located on the wall next to the washing machine.
- Using slip-joint pliers, loosen the hose couplings in the back of the washer (the couplings are what keep the hose attached to the washing machine’s port). You might be able to unscrew the couplings manually.
- Inlet screens should be visible inside the inlet valve hose ports (or sometimes the hose couplings themselves). Carefully pry the screens out with needle-nose pliers.
- Remove any loose debris and throw in the trash. For tougher to remove debris and buildup, clean the screen with a toothbrush. If the screens are coated with mineral deposits (calcium buildup from hard water), then soak them in white vinegar overnight and clean them again with the toothbrush.
- Push the screens back into the inlet valve’s hose ports (or back into the hose couplings).
- Reconnect the supply hoses. Make sure the hoses git snugly, then use your slip-joing pliers to make one more 1/4-turn clockwise. This will ensure a watertight connection.
- Move the clothes washer back into place and plug it in. Turn on the water supply valves.
A washing machine slow to fill up is usually easy to fix. That’s because the problem is as simples as disconnecting the supply hoses, removing the inlet screens, and cleaning the screens.
This is a simple, fast DIY project that any homeowner can take on. So, save yourself the expense and try this first before calling a professional.
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